Homeowners make renovations for any number of both good and not-so-good reasons, but the most common reason is to prepare for selling – to add value and get a better sale price. Sadly, though, many homeowners do things that cost them a lot of time, effort, and money without adding any significant value to their home. Some renovations even lose them money at sale time. Don’t be one of these homeowners. Make only those renovations that promise a good return on investment and avoid the 6 worst renovations to add value before selling your house.
1. Extravagant Kitchen Upgrades
One of the worst (yet all too common) renovations to add value before selling your house is an extravagant kitchen upgrade. Yes, the kitchen is typically the most important room for buyers, but if you go too far in your kitchen upgrade, you won’t see any ROI, and it can actually repel buyers.
First of all, a high-end, extravagant kitchen upgrade typically doesn’t yield much of a return on the investment and so doesn’t justify the expense. The rule of thumb on kitchen upgrades is to spend no more than 25% of your home’s value on the upgrade.
And, according to one top realtor, a high-end kitchen upgrade can actually hurt your chances of a sale. “A high-end kitchen in a home that isn’t itself high-end creates expectational disproportion among buyers.” That is, buyers will be turned off by the mismatch in quality between the kitchen and the rest of your home.
2. Luxury Bathroom Upgrades
In a similar manner, luxury bathroom upgrades are among the worst renovations to add value before selling your house. Reasonable bathroom upgrade and modernization can provide a good ROI, but if you go overboard, it’s likely to be counterproductive. All those luxury features may not appeal to buyers at all and may not increase your home’s value in proportion to the cost of the renovation.
Instead, real estate experts recommend the following for bathroom renovations. “Consider replacing the once sought-after whirlpool tub with a larger walk-in shower” because whirlpools “take up a lot of space and can be difficult to clean. As long as the home has another tub for the occasional bubble bath or for bathing children, consider replacing the one in your master bath with a large, modern shower.”
3. Poorly Conceived/Executed Additions
Poorly conceived and/or poorly executed room additions should also be avoided because they can reduce your home’s value. These kinds of additions include, for example, bathrooms that have access only through a bedroom and additions that appear to be just slapped onto the side of the house without any organic connection.
A variant here is overbuilding, which is to be avoided as well. If, for instance, “you add a second story to your existing 1,500-square-foot home, you may think you’re adding another 1,000 square feet. But if all the other homes in the neighborhood are single-story ranch homes, your home becomes the elephant in the neighborhood.” The end result is that you won’t be able to recoup the costs of the addition.
4. Putting in a Swimming Pool
You may want a nice in-ground swimming pool in the back yard, but will buyers? Maybe, but not enough that you can get anywhere close to a decent return on the investment. And if the buyers have small children, the pool may actually be a turn-off owing to the dangers it presents. According to industry experts, an in-ground pool will increase your home’s value by only 7% at the most. Some agents “even recommend that homeowners give buyers the option of having the pool removed as part of the sale.” (If you have or intend to install a pool, call a local agent to find out your best course of action. 866-593-7012)
5. Room Conversions
Occasionally, room conversions can work out wonderfully, but most of the time they are among the worst renovations to add value before selling your house. Typically, if the conversion – say, a bedroom into an office or gym or a garage into a bedroom – involves removing closers and other storage space, it’s not a good idea. Also, the number of bedrooms is always important to buyers. So if, because of a conversion, your house has one less bedroom, buyers may reject it as a possibility. And buyers usually want to use a garage for its intended purpose, not to sleep in.
6. Installing Carpeting Throughout
Wall-to-wall carpeting may seem like a good idea, but it too is one of the worst renovations to add value before selling your house. Yes, all that new carpeting may look nice, but as you know and as buyers are certainly aware, it quickly shows signs of use and wear. Carpeting is also difficult to clean, which is not a good selling point. And there’s no way to know whether your choice of color and texture will appeal to buyers. You’re better off, then, saving some money and just refinishing those hardwood floors.
Ask Your Agent
So before you wind up dropping a load of money you’ll never get back when you sell your house, consult your local real estate agent. Your agent can steer you clear of the worst renovations to add value before selling your house and can guide you toward those that help you sell quicker and for more.